WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has alerted leading American churches and faith-based organizations to Azerbaijan’s recent destruction of the medieval Armenian cemetery in the Djulfa region of Nakhichevan.
In letters sent out this week, the ANCA included newly-produced DVDs with actual footage of Azerbaijani troops, in mid-December of 2005, using sledgehammers to demolish this sacred site of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The cemetery dates back to the 7th Century and once was home to as many as 10,000 khatchkars (stone-crosses). The DVD also includes a PowerPoint presentation documenting the destruction, and features before-and-after photos of the cemetery.
“Tragically,” wrote ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian, “this latest wave of demolition, on top of previous attacks in 1998 and 2002, has effectively destroyed this site – erasing forever a true treasure of world heritage. These actions represent a continuation of the Armenian Genocide – a new wave of cultural cleansing intended to eradicate even the memory of a thriving Armenian presence since Biblical times.” Hamparian added that, “Sadly, our own government has remained silent on this brutal assault on Armenia’s ancient Christian heritage – a legacy dating back to the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew and, later, Armenia’s conversion to Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. The State Department, quite appropriately, protested the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues in 2001, and very properly protests the desecration of Jewish cemeteries throughout Europe. Yet, they have not uttered a word publicly against this blatant, undeniable, and thoroughly documented act of hatred.”
Among the churches receiving the DVDs were the African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Alliance of Baptists, American Baptist Churches in the USA, American Values, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Coalition of America, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Church of the Brethren, Coptic Orthodox Church in North America , Episcopal Church, Friends United Meeting, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America , Hungarian Reformed Church in America, International Christian Concern, International Council of Community Churches, Korean Presbyterian Church in America, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church , Mar Thoma Church, Moravian Church in America Northern Province and Southern Province, National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc., National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the USA, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Polish National Catholic Church of America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., Reformed Church in America, Renew America, Serbian Orthodox Church in the U.S.A. and Canada, Southern Baptist Convention, Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, Swedenborgian Church, United Methodist Church, Traditional Values Coalition, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America, and United Church of Christ.
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To watch the video of the destruction:
To send a free ANCA WebFax to the State Department: